My Very First Gun Show (ALONE NO LESS!)


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MedGrl
January 8, 2006, 03:07 PM
Well...today was the day. I went to my first ever gun show...alone no less:p . My friends who all know about guns and have been assiting me in my quest for knowledge were otherwise disposed when I had time to go the the gunshow that was being held close to me yesterday and today so I dared to go alone. It was quite a learning experience and fun to boot.:D

The armory where it was being held was not that large. I think there were mabey 10 or 15 vendors there (if that many) so I just started in the corner by the door and worked my way in a slow curcut around the room. The larger portion of what was for sale seemed to be rifles and shotguns but there were 4 people with hand gun displays. I was not looking to buy anything...today was purely recon to find what style/make/modle fit my hand and felt good. The first hand gun vendor I came to was very helpful. I told him right up front that I wasn't looking to buy today but wanted to find what type of gun was best suited to me. He was more than happy to answer questions. It was great!

I told him that I was looking for something for home/self defense, most likely in a 9mm or .38. He asked about my experience with guns and I readily confessed that I was a novice but had a great mentor (Thanks Dave!). He made a few suggestions and let me handle a couple 9mm and .38's as well as a couple other caliburs like a .40. I handled a couiple Smiths and Colts both semi-auto and revolvers. He had a Colt Dectective .38 Revolver that seemed to fit my hand well and i liked the weight and balance of it.

Thanks to the patience of all you members (Especialy you Working Man:cool: ) being patient with my newbie questions and Dave for being a great mentor:) , I was able to ask fairly intelegent questions about stoping power and kick back. I was so proud of myself.

I went around to a few of the other vendors who had hand guns on dislpay and only one of the other's asked me if i had any questions the rest just waited for me to ask to see a particular gun and in general seemed dissinterested in helping me. The other one who actualy initiated the conversation kept trying to steer me towards the .22's even though he said it didn't have as much stoping power it was "more popular with women":mad: . I politely thanked him for his time and moved on. :fire:

After about 30 minutes of wandering around and looking, I went back to the first vendor to look at the two guns that had caught my attention at the begining and, after a little more testing of their weight balance hand grip and even him allowing me a dry fire of each to see the mechanism workings, I had decided that I liked the Cold Detective .38 the best as far as feel . I again thanked the friendly vendor for his help and for not trying to steer me towards .22's just becaus they are "more popular with the women".

I kept getting odd looks from some of the men in the Armory hall because I was the only female in the room that was not a vendor (the female vendors gave me big smiles and said "Welcome" ). It was an amusing and interesting experience. I think after today I have decided to go with a revolver for my first gun when I get it (that has to wait until April at the minimum since I am not quie 21 yet) but I'm hoping Dave will have a .38 revolver I can try.

I've tried his .357 Magnum with .38 rounds but the vendor said an actual .38 is a little milder as far a kickback than a .357 with .38 rounds. But agian. Thanks to all of you who put up with newbie questions and helped me learn enough to be comfortable going to a gun show alone and be able to ask inteigent questions and UNDERSTAND the answers.:D

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Snagglepuss
January 8, 2006, 03:31 PM
Sounds like a great experience, thanks for sharing.:D

sm
January 8, 2006, 03:34 PM
:D

Thanks for sharing!

You didn't buy any Beef Jerky? What kind of mentors do you have? I mean everyone knows just having a stick of jerky in your pocket makes you a better shooter...honest. Now would I make this up. :p

Yes I hate the "she is lady and therefore needs a wittle gun in a wittle caliber, and I am a guy.

Colt Detective Specials are a great gun, and many folks find the size and heft very pleasing to shoot. Only downside is these great guns are pricy, and getting a Quality, Competent Gunsmith to work on one is difficult.

May I suggest you try a OLDer S&W , Model 10, the stainless version is Model 64. Just a tad bigger than the DS, has heft and pointabilty, mangages recoil well, dedicated .38spl., and easier to find quality competent gunsmiths , parts and accessories. Stocks ( grips) for example are plentiful, and changing stocks to fit your hands is a snap.

Our own Mr. Camp has written reviews on many Firearms, ammo and makes some very good suggestions. http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/

WVA huh? Southern Gent myself, have to admit you folks are Great and sure know how to put a scald on a Chicken, and do up BBQ.

I make it up that way from time to time. You folks don't say I talk funny. :D

Regards,

Steve

Rebel by birth...Rebel in attitude.

Sunray
January 8, 2006, 03:37 PM
Good for you. It's nice to hear about a gun show vendor who understands that new shooters are important. Did you get a business card from the guy? Sounds like he's the guy to buy from when you're ready.

22-rimfire
January 8, 2006, 03:42 PM
The Colt Detective Special is an excellent choice. It will be more comfortable to shoot than some of the new airweights that Smith is offering in 38 (in particular the 442/642 models). The airweights are more concealable if you are looking for that. I have one as a pocket carry weapon. You would hardly know it was in a purse. A Colt Diamondback would be a sweet gun to get in 38spl in either a 2.5" or 4" barrel configuration.

Alone or with one other person is the way to attend gun shows. You can concentrate on the business at hand.

MedGrl
January 8, 2006, 03:44 PM
Good for you. It's nice to hear about a gun show vendor who understands that new shooters are important. Did you get a business card from the guy? Sounds like he's the guy to buy from when you're ready.


oh fudge...i didn't even think to ask for a buisness card...well I'll just have to hope he is at the next show i go to...I'll try and remember that for the next time i run across a helpful vendor.

georgeduz
January 8, 2006, 04:08 PM
i whent to the vally forge PA show,its alot different from years passed,there used to be alot of old timers there selling mostly used parts,now its all stores,with very high prices,i could order most stuff cheaper on the internet.i will not be going back there anymore.

Demariana
January 8, 2006, 04:33 PM
I went to my first gun show on Sat as well. *grins* I was in Lexington Ky and it was actually pretty big. Very crowded and unfortunately at most 5% women. I got lucky and got to go with 2 guys who are teaching me as well as letting me trying out their guns, since I do not have the money right not to get a gun. One friend picked up a Walther .22lr. I did get to handle a bunch of different guns, and I liked the 22. I want one now as well for a nice target/range gun. I know I also want a 9mm for carry.

Maybe call the armory and see if they have a list of the vendors? He might have a shop and then do a websearch.

Demariana

Standing Wolf
January 8, 2006, 05:21 PM
I had decided that I liked the Cold Detective .38 the best as far as feel .

You could do a lot, lot worse than a Detective Special.

Best of success to you, eh?

SDM
January 8, 2006, 05:39 PM
"I've tried his .357 Magnum with .38 rounds but the vendor said an actual .38 is a little milder as far a kickback than a .357 with .38 rounds."

Maybe someone more knowledgeable than myself will correct me but, I would think the exact opposite to be true? Am I wrong?

Medgrl,

Sounds like you had a good experience, that is great. Making a quick decision(which is what I did with my first carry gun) could cost you a lot of money if you make the wrong one. It's good to hear you are thinking this through. Also good to hear you are taking the initiative to do this on you own. Good luck, and ........how 'bout them Mountaineers?

riverdog
January 8, 2006, 05:47 PM
I'll echo what Steve said regarding looking at S&W revolvers. Colt revolvers can be very nice, but the price difference is considerable. My suggestion would be to look at used S&W Mod 19's. .357 Mag capable revolvers are very shooter friendly and you can use anything from light .38 Special target loads to relatively hot .357 Mag loads. While you feel .38 Special is enough today, you may want the option of shooting heavier loads later on. My GF prefers 125 gr .38+P loads to the light target loads. ... the vendor said an actual .38 is a little milder as far a kickback than a .357 with .38 rounds. ??? I don't understand why this would be true, unless the .357 is lighter than the .38 Special.

sm
January 8, 2006, 05:58 PM
I grew up with "Colts for Semi and Smith's for Revolvers".
For me that meant 1911, Kframe, and Browning High Powers to start out. Makes sense dont' it? :p

Colt Revolvers are NICE. Backwards to me...nonetheless NICE. Tell anyone I am sentimental and get mushy - I will deny it. These OLD Colts and some other firearms...nothing wrong with carrying them, just being as they are not made anymore, need preserving.

Of course I am a contradiction as I do sometimes carry a 1928 Colt Detective Special. :p

First guns : I am a big proponent of shooting for one's self to make informed decisions. Most of the new shooters, lots of ladies mind you, bought used /Police trade in Model 10s. Price was right, carry wear, internals great! This allowed them to have a quality gun for less monies not dependent on Ammo and mags to run.

After training, lessons, CCW...monies, sure many went to nicer guns, or even different platforms. Still having a first gun that worked for THEM for the monies, these worked well.

One lady now has her dad's Colt guns, including revolvers. She carries her choices, the Colts are special.

Just some thoughts.

Hey- that place in WVA still have the Rebel Flags out front? Dang good steaks and homemade fried pies. :D

DevLcL
January 8, 2006, 06:01 PM
You handled it pretty well. My first time at a gun show alone I ended up buying a rifle, and barely looked at handguns even though thats what I went for. Its funny that your mad about the .22 thing because my lady friend loves to shoot the .45. She thinks the .22 is boring. :banghead:

-Dev

one-shot-one
January 8, 2006, 06:09 PM
"I've tried his .357 Magnum with .38 rounds but the vendor said an actual .38 is a little milder as far a kickback than a .357 with .38 rounds."

Maybe someone more knowledgeable than myself will correct me but, I would think the exact opposite to be true? Am I wrong?

Medgrl,

Sounds like you had a good experience, that is great. Making a quick decision(which is what I did with my first carry gun) could cost you a lot of money if you make the wrong one. It's good to hear you are thinking this through. Also good to hear you are taking the initiative to do this on you own. Good luck, and ........how 'bout them Mountaineers?

most .357's are heavier than .38's there fore giving less felt recoil with "lite" loads. how ever if the shooter has small hands the .38's size might fit better there by reducing felt recoil.

HighVelocity
January 8, 2006, 06:09 PM
Great story. I like hearing about folks venturing into unknown realms without help. :)

Gun shows can be good and they can be not so good. Glad you found a good one.

critter
January 8, 2006, 06:52 PM
Good for you!

Do, though, try out one of the Smith & Wesson Model 10's. They are fine guns, light enough to handle, common enough to be worked on by 'smith's quite easily and can be had for a small chunk of change in very good shape.

Several years ago, I got one, Ni plated yet, at a GOOD price as it was a South American police/military trade in that a vendor got a BUNCH of. My daughter got hold of it when she was in college and moved off campus. She still has it-won't let it go for anything! Last time I had her to the range here with it, a couple of guys quit shooting to watch her shoot the gun. They commented that they did NOT want her shooting at THEM with it! She CAN shoot it, bilieve me.

Good luck in finding what works for YOU though! ENJOY!

Bob F.
January 8, 2006, 07:18 PM
Medgrl: Wasn't Beckley by any chance? I'd forgotten about the show, can't swing any $$ right now, anyway. Seems like I've had to work every weekend there's a show. Check out Beckley Gun Club. At one of their classes you'll get to shoot lots of different stuff; good group with good instructors and some active women, though not enough of 'em. PM me if you'd like for more info on BGC.

Stay safe.
Bob

bermbuster
January 8, 2006, 08:16 PM
I go to gun shows alone. I thought people were looking at me funny and I started to get a little paranoid. When I got to the car I realized it was because I had some of the chili from my chili dog on my chin. :)


Sounds like you had a good time. I enjoyed reading your post.

GoBrush
January 8, 2006, 09:49 PM
Sounds like you had a great day. I dont fully agree with one of the vendors kick back info. A heavier framed 357 would not kick as much shooting 38spl as a lighter weight 38spl would shooting 38spl. Although I do not have a problem with 38spls I would suggest getting the 357 just in case you want to move up to a more powerful load. Having shot 357's the only way I would suggest making that move is if you plan on shooting lots.

Good luck;)

hksw
January 9, 2006, 02:21 PM
Glad to see you had a relatively enjoyable experience with your first show.

I think there were mabey 10 or 15 vendors there (if that many)...

That is one of the tiniest shows I have every heard about. If you live anywhere near upper WV, try to get out to the PGCA Show in Monroeville, PA. It is one of the bigger ones in that tri-state area.

Please don't discount the .22 lr dispite the one dealer's opinion on gun choices for women. The platforms are relatively inexpensive as well as the ammo, much more so than any of the centerfire calibers. It would be an excellent teachin aid in helping you along in refining your gun handling skills. As noted, it does not have as much defensive performance as larger calibers but, IMO, A hit is much better than a miss. (Eluding to improving your marksmanship using the .22 lr as oppose to developing potentially bad habits with a centerfire. Certainly, I'm generalizing and it would depend on you inherent skills.)

Rock_Steady
January 9, 2006, 03:53 PM
Was it the Morgantown show? I made it out on sunday and didn't see too many prices that were in a good range. Unfortunately, there aren't many good gunshops in Morgantown - I've had to go long distances to find people who don't charge actual MSRP. Good to get out and have a look tho. We go shooting at MArstiller's frequwntly - if you're up here, you can PM me and we can let you run through a couple different guns. :)

Missashot
January 9, 2006, 03:54 PM
Sounds as if you had a very nice time at the show. I applaud you for going. Even if you didn't have your friends there to help you pick out models that would probably be best suited for you and your needs.
I enjoy going to every show that I can. Although I am very fortunate in the fact that my husband (Kramer Krazy) knows what to look for in a gun. I can usually spot what I want and he will give it an inspection and let me know if there may be some problems with it.
I don't blame you for being upset at the one vendor who kept trying to steer you toward a .22. While a .22 is extremely fun to plink with, it is definitely NOT a self defense gun. Sounds like he was only trying to make a sale.:banghead:
I recently picked up a S&W .38 Model 60. It is smaller that my husband's Colt dective special. And it shoots just as well or better and was about the same price. (They were both used.) But, if both were to be bought new, the S&W would be quite a bit more affordable. :D
Hope you get to try several mor makes and models out before you choose the right gun(s) for you.
Just be careful, it becomes like an addiction. First one gun, then another. Next thing you know you are having to buy ANOTHER safe to store them all in!:evil:

Ala Dan
January 9, 2006, 11:08 PM
I will share with you my recent experience's when acquiring two 2nd
series (1947-1972) Colt Detective Specials.

In the first one, a friend of mine (and co-worker) had a 1971 factory
nickel Colt Detective Special that he purchased brand NIB while working
for a former Colt distributor. This DS was (and is) in pristine (very minty)
condition, with NO sign of use any where on the firearm. Now to the
moral of the story~! One day he decided he wanted a brand NIB S&W
642; but he's very tight with $$$$. So he says too me, " I will trade
you my Colt DS, if you will buy me a brand NIB S&W 642". I jumped
thru all kind'a loopholes to make this transaction work; buying the
642 as a "gift", rather than for someone else. Since he is a state
of Alabama LEO, we traded right there on the spot. My final cost
for the 642 worked out to a total of $323.73; and that is what I
have in this little 1971 "gem". Not too mention that he threw in a
black Bianchi leather holster; which is its-self a $60 value~!:D

'Bout two weeks later, a factory blue 1966 Colt DS became availabe
through a trade within our shop. It set on the shelf, with a few lookers
but NO takers. Then, I said to my boss "Chief what would be my cost
on that little Colt DS in the showcase"? He replied, "$200". So, I filled
out the 4473 and it too followed me home.

So in retrospect to my friend's comments about old Colt's being pricey,
as a general rule this is very much true; but there are some deals that
can be had. As in my second dealing, our boss doesn't relish the idea
in selling "used but not abused guns"; as he would much rather sell only
new firearms. Go figure:uhoh: :D

Working Man
January 9, 2006, 11:46 PM
most .357's are heavier than .38's there fore giving less felt recoil with "lite" loads. how ever if the shooter has small hands the .38's size might fit better there by reducing felt recoil.

I agree, for the most part a .357 with .38's in it should have much less felt
recoil to it than a true .38, unless as stated the grip is not as fitting. The
added weight of the .357 frame will lighten the felt recoil and give you the
option of shooting .357 if you wish. You may also want to look at the SP101's
as they have good weight in a smaller package and there are a few choices
of grip available.

As for the venders that treated you as per you sex rather than as a shooter,
move on to the next one as you did. There are plenty of good ones out there
that will treat you with the best firearm for you in mind.

If you can go to a range and practice with the models that felt good in the
hand (or something close in size and weight). You can find the weight specs
on the mfg's home page so you can compare apples to apples.

hso
January 10, 2006, 12:56 AM
the vendor said an actual .38 is a little milder as far a kickback than a .357 with .38 rounds.

Nice guy, but wrong none the less (as you suspected). If the guns are the same weight and barrel length it just ain't possible. If the .357 was much lighter/smaller than the .38 then it only stands to reason.

UWstudent
January 10, 2006, 03:50 AM
i'm sorry, but i have to suggest that the weight/feel/balance or whatever of any pistol you were holding shouldn't be the determining factor on which gun to pick. Bob F. had a great idea on shooting rentals.. which then you could make a better decision on what gun REALLY suits you.
honestly, i dont want you to make the same mistake that i did. i picked up a gun the day i turned 21 by the way it fitted in my hands. after about 10 rounds i knew i made a crappy decision. for myself, guns are very different from each other.. for instance .. say trigger pull. each and every brand has a different trigger pull. typically, more expensive pistols have shorter, more consistant and crisp breaks. but yeah..
i'm not saying the choice you made was horrible. it's probably perfect for you and i believe the way it fits in your palm probably accounts for 25% on a pistol decision.
there's a gun out there for everone.. so shoot all of 'em and find it!:cool:

only1asterisk
January 10, 2006, 04:52 AM
UWstudent,

I'd agree with you to a point. While it would be preferable to shoot any handgun that one is considering purchasing, it isn't always practical. In this case, the only range that offers rental guns within a 2 hour radius has gone bankrupt. One can learn a good bit from handling a revolver (or most any gun) without shooting it, esp. it you are permitted to dry fire a time or two.

David

riverdog
January 10, 2006, 01:00 PM
I agree with only1asterisk on this. There's a revolver checkout pinned at the top of the revolver forum which should be used routinely during the decision phase of any revolver purchase. There are lots of little things that can be seen if you know what to look for.

One of the reasons I like S&W so much is their service, they're just a phone call away and in my case (686-0 recall) FEDEX shipping both ways was on them.

MedGrl
January 11, 2006, 12:06 PM
SInce Sunday based n what all of you have told me in your replies (thank you by the way they were all informative) and talking with my two gun owning friends) I hvae decided to 'upgrade' my desicion if you will. I am now looking for a .357 rather than a straight .38. As my friends have explained it to me that gives me more versatility as I can start learning recoil control and marksmanship with the milder .38's and work my way up to the .357's. THis wil keep me busy much longer. SO I'm now looking for either a S&W K frame .357 or a Ruger GP100 or SP101.

Thanks for all the helpful comments on my thread:D

riverdog
January 11, 2006, 06:35 PM
SO I'm now looking for either a S&W K frame .357 or a Ruger GP100 or SP101.I bought my GF a Ruger SP-101 and personally own a Ruger GP100 (6" full lug) and a couple S&W Mod 19 .357 Magnums. The Rugers are very strong guns, but the S&W K-frames have a better (smoother and crisper) triggers. My 6" Mod 19 is something of a target model with Patridge front sight and a very light SA trigger; I shoot nothing but light target loads in this gun.

Really study the Revolver Checkout Thread (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=57816). Find out what to look for and if you have any questions you can't find in a search here, ask.

Bob F.
January 11, 2006, 07:27 PM
Some guns feel much differently unloaded and dry-fired than loaded and live fired. My Glock 19 (all Glocks) comes to mind. Without a loaded mag they're top heavy and the trigger feels and sounds like a "quality cap gun". There are no ranges in my area that rent guns AFAIK, so handling and dry-firing are the next alternative, unless you can arrange a range session with a couple good friends with avariety of guns!

Stay safe.
Bob

cracked butt
January 12, 2006, 10:30 AM
Sounds like you did really well for your first foray into high testosterone land.:D

Oldtimer
January 12, 2006, 11:40 AM
It sounds like you enjoyed your first gun show, but don't stop there! Try to find a larger gun show to attend.

A few tips, especially if you're thinking of buying at a gun show:

(A) Do your "homework" regarding the "going" prices of what you want to get BEFORE you go to the show. Many gun show vendors sell at inflated prices.

(B) Don't hold back from "haggling" prices with the vendors. Many of them EXPECT that, and will often come down in their price "if" the buyer "haggles" reasonably.

(C) If a vendor is selling something at a slightly higher price than what might be "reasonable", but won't come down from that price, ask them if they might "sweeten the deal" a bit. I've had many vendors throw in accessories and/or ammo that made the purchase a "good deal" for me.

(D) If the gun show is for multiple days, you can "recon" on the first day, then go back on the last day of the show to buy. The last day of the show is when you'll find the best deals, especially in bulk items such as ammo. Many vendors would rather sell the heavy, bulk items at a lesser profit than to have to haul it out to their truck or trailer.

(E) If you're dead-set on buying one particular item, even though the price might be a bit steep, don't let the vendor see you drool (figuratively) at having found it on his table. Act as non-interested as possible, then walk away. Later on, if you return to that vendor's table, act like the item you want to buy is "no big thing", and maybe hint that if the price was a bit less, you might THINK about buying it. You can also ask if he'll cut the price for a "cash" sale. Of course, if you just GOTTA have that particular item, then fess up! You can walk out of the gun show with that prized possession in your hands, and maybe figure that by doing without a few "luxuries" for awhile, that will make up the difference.

The more gun shows you go to, the easier it will be for you to spot the "gougers" and phoneys.

Lastly, you would have LOVED to have gone to the HUGE gun shows of "yester-year"! The "Great Western Exhibit", which started out back in the 1960's in California (L.A. County Fairgrounds) had over 8 MILES of vendor tables to look at! If you walked at a slow pace, and often stopped to look at all of the stuff for sale, it would take you a good 10 hours to get through the entire show! I took several "newbies" to that show, and had to speed them up a bit, so that we could see everything before it closed! That gun show is now prohibited, by "order" of the L.A. County Supervisors. No more gun or gun-related items can be sold there!

wolf_from_wv
January 18, 2006, 01:51 AM
I was at the Morgantown gun show that Saturday... I saw a girl with blonde hair around the vendor that had some jewelry... There were fewer vendors there this year. I did find a holster for my hipoint .45, that just barely fit...

I usually buy at KH Police supply in Clarksburg. Street's Ace Hardware in Masontown, WV has some fairly decent prices. I bought a HiPoint .45 at Street's for $160. Jerry's at Weston has the .45s for $225. There is a gun shop at Kingwood in the shopping plaza where Ame's used to be, but I didn't think their prices where all that great. I've been in Marstiller's a couple of times.

My uncle bought a GP-100 and likes it.

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